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Tongue Injury in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Tongue injuries are common in children. Your child may bite his or her tongue while playing or because of a fall, a seizure, a car crash, or another injury.

A cut or tear to the tongue can bleed a lot. Small injuries may often heal on their own. If the injury is long or deep, it may need stitches that dissolve over time.

If a piece of your child's tongue was cut off or bitten off, it may have been reattached.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Give your child soft foods that are easy to swallow.
  • Be safe with medicines. Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Have your child suck on a piece of ice or a flavoured ice pop.
  • Rinse your child's wound with warm salt water right after meals. These rinses may relieve some pain. To make a saltwater solution, mix 1 tsp of salt in 1 cup of warm water.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse bleeding.
  • Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.